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Ender's Game is a 1985 science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. The book originated as the novelette "Ender's Game", published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fantasy. Elaborating on characters and plot lines depicted in the novel, Card later wrote additional books to form the Ender's Game series. Card released an updated version of Ender's Game in 1991, changing some political facts to accurately reflect the times.
Set in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperiled humankind who have barely survived two conflicts with the Formics (an insectoid alien race also known as the "Buggers"). In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, an international fleet maintains a school to find and train future fleet commanders. The world's most talented children, including the novel's protagonist Ender Wiggin, are taken at a very young age to a training center known as the Battle School. There, teachers train them in the arts of war through increasingly difficult games including ones undertaken in zero gravity in the Battle Room where Ender's tactical genius is revealed. Reception to the book was generally positive, though some critics have denounced Card's perceived justification of his main character's violent actions. Ender's Game won the 1985 Nebula Award for best novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for best novel. Its sequels, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, A War of Gifts, and Ender in Exile, follow Ender's subsequent travels to many different worlds in the galaxy. "Ender's Game" has been adapted into two comic series and is planned for a video game. Contents [hide] 1 Creation and inspiration 2 Synopsis 2.1 Setting 2.2 Plot summary 3 Critical response 4 Revisions 5 Adaptations 5.1 Film 5.2 Video game 5.3 Comics 5.4 Parallel novel 6 Translations 7 See also 8 References 9 External links Creation and inspiration
The original novelette Ender's Game provides a small snapshot of Ender's experiences in Battle School and Command School; the full-length novel encompasses more of Ender's life before, during, and after the war, and also contains some chapters describing the political exploits of his older siblings back on Earth. In a commentary track for the 20th Anniversary audiobook edition of the novel, as well as in the 1991 Author's Definitive Edition, Card stated that Ender's Game was written specifically to establish the character of Ender for his role of the Speaker in Speaker for the Dead, the outline for which he had written before novelizing Ender's Game. In his 1991 introduction to the novel, Card discussed the influence of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series on the novelette and novel. Historian Bruce Catton's work on the American Civil War also influenced Card heavily. Synopsis
Setting In the book, humankind experiences large-scale confrontations with a largely unknown alien race called Formics (often referred to as "buggers") who nearly wipe out humanity. As a result, humankind enters a shaky alliance to combat the Formics with the formation of an international military unit, the International Fleet (IF). In the futuristic setting, humankind develops interstellar travel, faster-than-light communication (derived from the ansible from Ursula K. Le Guin's works), various new weapons and defense mechanisms, and control over gravity. Earth is governed by three separate bodies, the Hegemon, Polemarch, and Strategos, which compete for dominance during the war. Most of the story focuses around the Battle School, a space station used as a military training complex for children. The IF tests all children on Earth and selects the brightest for the Battle School for military training. Students are organized into forty-one man armies and assigned to conduct simulated battles in micro gravity (called "null gravity" in the book). Upon graduation, students move on to either Tactical School, Combat School, Pre-Command School or Command School with three years in Pre-Command. The Battle School forms in response to the need of highly skilled officers for the wars against the Formics, and most of the officers in the IF pass through the school at one time. Plot summary In the novel's opening, the government selects Andrew "Ender" Wiggin for training at the elite Battle School. At Battle School, the commander Hyrum Graff publicly recognizes Ender as the most intelligent attendee. This acknowledgment causes other students to resent Ender, isolating him from most of the other children. Ender soon ranks among the school's elite child soldiers, eventually achieving the school's top rank. Even after his success the other children continue to ostracize him. Ender attempts to escape his isolation and frustration in various ways, but experiences little comfort until he receives a letter from his older sister Valentine, reminding him of his reasons for attending Battle School in the first place. The Battle School brass soon promote him to commander of a new army in the school's zero-gravity wargame league. He molds his young soldiers into an undefeated team, despite working with an inexperienced army. Ender's army implements innovative tactics, abolishing old methods like the use of formations in the battle room. The Battle School administration promotes Ender to Command School ahead of schedule. In command school, and under the tutelage of Mazer Rackham, the legendary hero of the Formic wars, Ender plays a game very similar to the Battle Room, where he commands ships in a 3-D space battle simulator. His subordinate officers are fellow students advanced early from the battle school who later become known as "Ender's jeesh." Each day the games become increasingly grueling, and Ender is slowly worn down to exhaustion. Waking and sleeping blend together as Ender nearly loses his sanity, though still maintaining his military innovation and leadership. Ender's "final exam" consists of a scenario where bugger ships outnumber Ender's fleet a thousand to one near a planetary mass. Ender orders the use of a special weapon, the Molecular Disruption Device, against the planet itself, destroying the simulated planet and all ships in orbit. Ender makes this decision knowing that it is expressly against the respectable rules of the game, hoping that his teachers will find his ruthlessness unacceptable, remove him from command, and allow him to return home. Soon after Ender's destruction of the "simulated" Formic fleet, Rackham tells him that all the simulations were real battles taking place in Formic space. After Ender realizes that he is responsible for the destruction of an entire race, the guilt of the genocide sends him into a coma. When Ender recovers, his sister Valentine explains that he will not be allowed to return to earth because his special skills are too dangerous to fall under the control of his feared brother Peter. He is made Governor of the first human colony on a Bugger world and they leave together on the first colony ship. While scouting out locations for future cities, Ender discovers a message from the Formics—expressed in the form of terrain matching that of the key fantasy game Ender played while in school—that leads him to an unborn Formic queen who can communicate with him through a psychic link. She explains that her race was initially unaware that humans were sentient creatures. The Formic defeat in the Second Invasion awakened them to humanity's true nature, and they resolved not to attack Earth again. With direct communication impossible between the species, the only connection they were able make was with Ender's dreaming mind, but he did not know he was fighting a war. Ender realizes that the Formics left this one Queen for Ender to find, forgive and take to a new home. Leaving out the fact that one 'Bugger' still lives, Ender writes a book in the Queens voice under the pseudonym "Speaker for the Dead" entitled The Hive Queen, wherein he tells the story of the Formic race. Critical response
Critics generally received Ender's Game well. The novel won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, considered the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. Ender's Game was also nominated for a Locus Award in 1986. New York Times writer Gerald Jonas admits that the novel's plot summary reads like a "grade Z, made-for-television, science-fiction-rip off movie", but then says that Card develops the elements well despite this "unpromising material". Jonas further praises the character Ender Wiggin as "Alternately likable and insufferable, he is a convincing little Napoleon in short pants." Much of the negative criticism the book has received stems from the novel's violence and the way Card justifies the violent actions of Ender Wiggin. Elaine Radford's review "Ender and Hitler: sympathy for the superman," criticizes the novel on several points. She likens Ender Wiggin to Adolf Hitler and criticizes the violence in the novel, particularly at the hands of the protagonist. Radford's criticisms are echoed in the essay "Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality" by John Kessel. Kessel reasons that Card justifies Ender's righteous rage and violence, stating, "Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault." Revisions
In 1991, Card revised the book. He made several minor changes to reflect the political climates of the time, including the decline of the Soviet Union. In the afterword of Ender in Exile, Card stated that many of the details in chapter 15 of Ender's Game have been modified for use in the subsequent novels and short stories. In order to more closely match the other material, Card has rewritten chapter 15, and plans to offer a revised edition of the book sometime in the future. Adaptations
Film Orson Scott Card released the latest of his author-written screenplay adaptations to Warner Brothers in May 2003. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were later signed to write a new script, working closely with director Wolfgang Petersen. Card later announced that he would be writing a new script not based on any previous one, including his own. Following the departure of Petersen from the project and Card's self-described refusal to "condescend to green-screen Hollywood," Card announced in February 2009 that he had completed a script for Odd Lot Entertainment, and that they had begun assembling a production team. Video game Main article: Ender's Game: Battle Room Ender's Game: Battle Room will be a digitally distributed video game for all viable downloadable platforms. It is currently under development by Chair Entertainment, who also developed the Xbox Live Arcade games Undertow and Shadow Complex. Chair had sold the licensing of Empire to Card, which became a best-selling novel. Little is known about the game save its setting in the Ender universe and that it will focus on the Battle Room. Comics Main article: Ender Comics Marvel Comics and Orson Scott Card announced on April 19, 2008 that they would be publishing a limited series adaptation of Ender's Game as the first in a comic series that would adapt all of Card's Ender's Game novels. Card was quoted as saying that it is the first step in moving the story to a visual medium. The first five-issue series, titled Ender's Game: Battle School, is being written by Christopher Yost, while the second five-issue series, Ender’s Shadow: Battle School, is being written by Mike Carey. Parallel novel Main article: Ender's Shadow The story of Ender's Game was retold by Card in a "parallel" novel, Ender's Shadow, featuring many of the same events from the point of view of a different character: Bean. Translations
Ender's Game has been translated into 27 different languages: Bulgarian: Играта на Ендър ("Ender's Game"). Chinese: 安德的游戏 ("Ender's Game"),2003. Croatian: Enderova igra ("Ender's Game"), 2007. Czech: Enderova hra ("Ender's Game"), 1994. Danish: Enders strategi ("Ender's Strategy"), 1990. Dutch: De tactiek van Ender ("Ender's Tactic"). Estonian: Enderi mäng ("Ender's Game"), 2000. Finnish: Ender ("Ender"), 1990. French: La Stratégie Ender ("The Ender Strategy"), 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001. German: Das große Spiel ("The Big Game"), 1986, 2005. Hebrew: המשחק של אנדר ("Ender's Game"), 1994. Hungarian: Végjáték ("Endgame"), 1991. Italian: Il gioco di Ender ("Ender's Game"). Japanese: エンダーのゲーム ("Ender's Game"), 1987. Korean: 엔더의 게임 ("Ender's Game"), 1992, 2000 (two editions). Latvian: Endera spēle ("Ender's Game"), 2008. Lithuanian: Enderio Žaidimas ("Ender's Game"), 2007 Norwegian: Enders spill ("Ender's Game"), 1999. Polish: Gra Endera ("Ender's Game"), 1994. Portuguese: O jogo do exterminador ("The exterminator's game") (Brasil). Portuguese: O jogo final ("The final game") (Portugal). Romanian: Jocul lui Ender ("Ender's Game"). Russian: Игра Эндера (Igra Endera) ("Ender's Game"), 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003 (two editions). Serbian: Eндерова игра (Enderova igra) ("Ender's Game"), 1988. Spanish: El juego de Ender ("Ender's Game"). Swedish: Enders spel ("Ender's Game"), 1991, 1998. Thai: เกมพลิกโลก ("The game that change the world"), 2007. Turkish: Ender'in Oyunu ("Ender's Game").